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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Seven: The Role of Media in Perpetuating Stereotypes (Meghan S. Sanders / Stephanie L. Whitenack)


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The Role of Media in Perpetuating Stereotypes


In late 2017, the beauty/skincare line Dove faced national criticism when the company released a video of women changing out of t-shirts. The criticism wasn’t because of nudity, provocative attire or poses. It was because of the shade of the women’s skin compared to the colors of the t-shirts. The video began with a woman of color changing out of a darker t-shirt. As the video progressed, the women’s complexions became lighter as did the colors of the t-shirts. The video went viral with the fiercest of criticisms calling it racist because it seemed to imply that women of color are dirtier than White women. In early 2018, the clothing brand H&M faced similar criticism when they released an ad featuring an African American boy wearing a t-shirt featuring a monkey and the words, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” Critics argued the image perpetuated associations of Africans and African Americans with animals, and savage, animalistic behavior. Regardless of whether you agree with the criticisms, at the heart of them is the fear of negative stereotypes serving as unfair judgments of entire groups in society.

Many historical and contemporary stereotypes exist. Italians as mobsters or members of the mafia. The drunk Irish. Asian men as asexual. Latinos as hypersexual. Women as emotional by nature. African American men as violent, criminals....

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